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A tribute to Jackie Robinson

Posted By Denebola On November 21, 2007 @ 6:00 pm In Sports | Comments Disabled

By Laura Glick and Amrita Rao
On April 14, 1947 Jackie Robinson walked out onto Ebbets field in Brooklyn, New York, breaking the color barrier by becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball. By traveling around the country with the Brooklyn Dodgers Robinson opened the door for blacks in baseball as well as other venues.
However, it was not easy for Robinson to hurdle over obstacles and it took boundless amounts of courage and perseverance. While the majority of the nation was against the integration of baseball, the newly attained Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager, Branch Rickey, felt differently. During a historic meeting between Rickey and Robinson in 1943, the long awaited assimilation process of blacks and whites in professional sports had begun.
Robinson was not chosen purely on talent, but also on his extraordinary charisma and his strong ability to control his emotions.
During this renowned meeting, Robinson questioned, “Mr. Rickey, what do you want? A coward? What do you want? A ballplayer who is afraid to fight back?” Rickey replied, “I want, a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.”
Rickey spent countless hours preparing Robinson for the taunts and jeers that lay ahead. Rickey enacted numerous scenarios including, “You’re standing in the batter’s box. I’m a beanball pitcher. I hate you. I wing a fastball at you. It grazes your cap. It sends you jumping back for cover. What do you do?”
Robinson responded, “Mr. Rickey, I’d just pick myself up and dig in.”
Robinson’s acceptance was best embodied by his relationship with Dodgers shorstop Pee Wee Reese. Born in Kentucky, Reese was the epitome of a southern gentleman; it seemed very unlikely that Reese would be instrumental in Robinson’s integration. Observing how well Robinson handled the physical and oral abuse, Reese went out of his way to silence Robinson’s opponents in the stands.
During a game in Boston, fans questioned Reese’s friendship and strength to play alongside a black man. He quickly responded by placing his arm around his teammates shoulder to symbolize his ongoing support.
Reese set the stage for fellow teammates of Robinson as well as the baseball community to step up to the plate and support the desegregation of America’s favorite pastime.

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Article printed from Denebola: http://www.denebolaonline.net

URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/11/21/a-tribute-to-jackie-robinson/

URLs in this post:

[1] Remembering Robinson’s Field of Dreams: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/11/21/remembering-robinsons-field-of-dreams/

[2] Impacting others: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/11/21/impacting-others/

[3] In Memoriam: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/04/16/in-memoriam/

[4] Hostility bars racial communication: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/02/15/hostility-bars-racial-communication/

[5] Going the Distance: couples overcome school separation: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/going-the-distance-couples-overcome-school-separation/

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